Are you attracted to him because you want to be WITH him or because you want to be LIKE him?
She thought for a moment and then her eyes widened.
"Whoa. I think I want to be like him..."
I'm not sure exactly when I noticed this tendency within myself, but realizing it launched a bit of a breakthrough in my dating life. In my 20s and early 30s I wanted to be with someone adventurous and worldly—primarily because I thought I wasn't either of those things myself. But seeking them out sort of backfired on me. I subconsciously focused too much on that aspect and ended up with guys too far over on the "adventure" spectrum who didn't have the balance of other traits I was seeking. It was only when I was finally able to see myself as worldly and adventurous that I was able to find someone who was a perfect fit for me.
When we're attracted to someone because we want to be like them, we're walking around acting as though we're human hunks of Swiss cheese.
Like there are holes throughout our persons. We try to fill in what we think is lacking by stuffing other people into the supposed empty spots.
I don't think this only happens in love relationships either—it can happen with friendships and even among colleagues.
And it's not to say that a situation like this will never turn into a thriving love affair or business partnership, but I would bet that if someone ran the numbers, there would be a lower likelihood for success.
A higher likelihood for success: Being attracted to someone because you want to be with them and they're like YOU.
So how to bridge the gap (or rather, fill the cheese pockets)?
Work on becoming the person you want to be rather than hoping someone else will be your catalyst for change.
If, for example, you find yourself yearning to be with someone confident because you wish you were more confident, do things that boost your own esteem (run a lap, treat yourself to a solo dinner, take a karate class) instead of seeking out someone else out who's overflowing with self assurance.
Becoming who you want to be—stepping into the shoes of your best self—will cause people to be attracted to YOU.
And the funny thing is, you might already BE the person you want to be but you just need to learn how to give yourself credit.
Before I left my friend, I told her that next time I see her I want a full report that she's been doing all sorts of independence- and confidence-boosting things to bring herself into alignment with her crush.
She promised she would try—and not just for the sake of the possible boyfriend.
If she and the guy work out, I think it'll only make their relationship stronger. And if they don't, she'll have a few more reasons to stop seeing herself as a slice of Swiss.